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September 18, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE BOOK?

By Kevin Tully

Reverend Jones relented and now we should talk of such things - how this may have been about most of us.

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I believe there is something being unnoticed or unexplored in the Quran burning sideshow and debate; is Islam being placed outside of what constitutes freedom of religion and the concomitant debate in America?

First of all, myself and everyone I associate with objected to, was vocal about, and detested the proposed burnings of the Quran by the opportunistic and pathetically deluded Pastor Jones.
However, watching the debate over the last couple of days, I have very conflicted emotions and not about the almost very stupid action - about the debate.

I watched a discussion on CNN yesterday and the Muslim participant, by way of introducing his comments, stated that the Quran was the voice of God - sacred. None of the other (non-Muslim) participants challenged him on this point. My point being: can't this be said about the Christian Bible, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, and a Lakota Prayer Bundle? In my opinion, with this omission, the discussion became a dishonest and potentially destructive excercise. It reinforced and substantiated the perception of, what appears to be a majority of Americans, Islam as a religion apart and a people apart; something to be misunderstood and feared. I may be forgetting and overreacting, however, searching my memory, I can't recall a single discussion where someone pointed out that all religious peoples would feel the same about the burning of their books. Discussing Islam or any religion in this fashion sets-up the religion being discussed as "sacrosanct" - beyond or above discussion. Like it or not - this is not the American way.


The Muslim participant appeared to occupy a unique place in the discussion and the world - and he did, but only because it was his "Book" that was threatened to be burned. He did not express solidarity with any other religion by way of comparison. He didn't say, " All of us, all of us various peoples of the various books, understand the pain and anger of having something you cherish potentially destroyed." In his defense, none of the other participants went there either.
In my opinion Rev. Jones was not threatening to commit a sacrilege against just Muslims - he was threatening all people's whose divine inspiration resides in something tangible that can be violated or defiled. The challenge here is to connect and "risk" solidarity with the "other" and see them as friends, brothers, sisters, neighbors.

Watching the discussion I caught myself feeling un-sympathetic. This is out of character for me - I've been accused of being congenitally empathy ridden.
I've realized that my uncharacteristically strong reaction to the Muslim participant in the discussion is informed by my intellectual and personal connections to Mexico and therefore Spain. Medieval Spain was an Islamic Caliphate for hundreds of years. It was known as al-Andalus and during most of its existence and it may have been one of the most tolerant and progressive societies ever. it appears to have been the intellectual bridge between the Classical era and the Renaissance. Would there have been a Michelangelo or Galileo without al-Andalus? Probably not. This society was tolerant of all "People Of The Book" - Christians, Jews, and Muslims working, worshiping, and living together. I guess I wanted the Muslim fellow to speak of al-Andalus.















Submitters Website: http://www.facebook.com/FrindsOfLyndonJohnsonCityArt?ref=hl

Submitters Bio:

Kevin is (writing about yourself in the third person (illeism) is a trip) an artist/writer/carpenter and frustrated songwriter living in Johnson City, Texas. His latest frustrating songwriting attempt is titled, "I Touched the Hand That Touched the Hand That Willie Touched", it, according to Kevin, is about falling in love for all the wrong reasons. Kevin is also a closet subversive. He claims he'll come out of the closet as soon as handguns are no longer popular. Kevin is a loud, obnoxious Texan and hopes that this will be held against him -- "It makes life so much harder and interesting when traveling outside of the Lone Star State." Kevin used to be a Golf columnist. He says life as a Golf columnist is not a whole lot different than life not as a Golf columnist. Kevin is sure that Jesus was indeed a Socialist. Kevin founded a short-lived organization, "FOXNO", with a mandate to get Fox News off the air. It got very little traction and as a result, over the ensuing years, Fox has propagandized a very significant portion of American television viewers, which, if unchecked, could destroy this country and the world. Kevin's Father thought Kevin was prone to hyperbole. Kevin wishes everyone would read "A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek", "In Watermelon Sugar" and all the poetry of Carl Sandberg. Kevin once, when drunk, argued, "America is not a city on a hill" for two hours, because "America is not a city, it's a rather large landmass that used to belong to Indians and porcupines!" Kevin once yelled out at a "Chicago' concert, "Steinbeck is God!" Kevin does not suffer fools or assh**es, usually. In 1969 he had a neighbor that was an assh**le who, although an assh**le, was enchanted with the Space Program and the prospect of man walking on the moon. Kevin and his best friend, Tommy, tied thread around a pinecone and at the designated hour, threw the pinecone over the neighbor's television antennae and shook it like hell -- the assh**le neighbor missed Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. Kevin says that every time he watched Michael Jackson moonwalk he would be reminded of his assh**le neighbor and he would laugh like hell. Most folks that know Kevin would say that he hasn't changed. Kevin Lives in President Lyndon Johnson's hometown. Kevin, along with a few others, is trying to expose Lyndon Johnson for his equivocated humanity and possible good intentions. Kevin is pondering a short story about power and its surprises titled, "Kings Can Dance." When asked about current politics Kevin simply answers, "Trump is a turd." Kevin would like for me to express his gratitude to you for taking the time to read the above stuff and to say, "good be on you."

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